As I have mentioned several times already, one of the main intentions with Metal Squadron from the very beginning, was to present some new and interesting bands. Even though there is space also for the bigger, established acts, the demo bands will always be a vital part of this webzine. At the moment, it seems like Finland is one of the places to be, as finally there are some pretty good acts coming through. One of these is Tyfon’s Doom, a one man project who just put out their second recording “Yeth Hound”.
If I am right, Tyfon’s Doom is you, Tommy Varsala doing more or less everything. First, introduce yourself – who are you and what is your relationship to heavy metal? Do you have a background from other bands prior to Tyfon’s Doom, or is this your first project?
– Correct! It’s just me and my instruments here trying to play heavy metal with traditional sound as best I can. I’ve been a heavy metal fan for something like ten years now and that’s almost one half of my life, so I’ve been exposed to this awesome music long enough to be able to produce it on some level by myself. To me, seventies and eighties heavy metal is just the best music that I can imagine. Of course heavy metal isn’t the only genre that I listen to, but it’s just the supreme winner among others, so I’m putting my effort on playing that one. To this day, Tyfon’s Doom is my first and only project and I’ve managed to release two quite decent releases, which is already better than I was expecting when I started to write my own songs. Writing songs is something that I’ve done as long as I’ve played any instrument, and in this case, it’s guitar. So I’m more like a guitarist who is not currently playing in a band but still wanting to create and release songs.
What were your ambitions when you started Tyfon’s Doom? Have they changed along the way, now that you just put out your second release?
– Actually, when I released the first demo last year, I had no objective at all. I didn’t even plan to release those four songs as a demo, but afterwards I’m really glad that I did. When the first label contacted me for possible tape release, I really started to think that maybe I could really begin to write songs more seriously to achieve the ultimate goal for this project, which is to release really awesome full length album on vinyl some day in the future. Now that the second release is out, I’m sure that it’s possible and once that is achieved, I’m going to set new goals.
Why have you decided to do everything on your own? Is it difficult finding members suited for this type of music, or do you simply want to do everything on your own, to have full control over how and when?
– Well, it’s not that I couldn’t find members to form a band, but I hate the idea of dropping some really great song off the release if other members wouldn’t like it but I would. I can’t see the point of releasing something that I’m not utterly and completely happy with. Of course some things would be easier with a band, but doing everything on my own teaches me a lot more. But don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against playing in a band, on the contrary that would be cool. I’m just not too interested in trying to find one and instead I’m just waiting for a band to find me or something like that.
So you don’t think working along with someone could lift your ideas and songs to an even higher level?
– That’s something that I don’t know because I haven’t tried. It could be at least worth giving a shot but on the other hand, too many cooks spoil the broth.
Do you play the drums as well, or are they programmed as in quite a few one man projects?
– Frankly, I’m just a guitarist and I believe I can play it pretty well, unlike bass. In fact, there wasn’t even a bass track on the first demo, so I thought I had to buy a bass to make the second release better than the first one and I believe it was a worthy investment. Though, I’m still a total novice with that instrument. Drums are unfortunately played by “Angelo Sasso”, but these days even drum machines can sound like real drums if they’re programmed properly, so that’s not a big issue for me. Also, real drums would need a little more advanced recording system that I’m currently using.
Cool to see someone not denying Angelo Sasso’s contribution. As Rock’n Rolf wouldn’t say too much, what is Angelo like in real life?
– He is a very nice guy, but a bit shy though. Also pretty tough drummer, he makes no mistakes and does everything I ask him to.
The demo you did last year, ”Demo 2015” passed under my radar. I guess you didn’t promote it too much? For instance it seems you have just created a Facebook page not so long ago. Was the low profile because you were unsure how good it was?
– As I said, I didn’t have any goals with it at first and that’s probably the reason why I didn’t promote it very much, if at all. Also, I didn’t know where I could promote it. Maybe some forums, but that was all I could come up with at that time. I didn’t keep a low profile because I was unsure about the quality of the music but I wasn’t sure if I would need to create a Facebook page since for a non-gigging one man project where there’s not very much to announce. Now that I’m probably a little bit more serious with this project, I just thought that there’s really nothing to lose with creating a Facebook page also and promoting a little bit more.
It certainly seems so, as I remember receiving an email from you informing me that the material was available on Bandcamp. Did you contact a lot different medias directly, or have you been relying more on word of mouth?
– Well, besides you, I contacted just a few other guys that might have been interested in this kind of music. I didn’t contact as many as I could have, but so far I’m happy with the amount of people that have been listening to Tyfon’s Doom.
I noticed that “Demo 2015” was released on tape format by Impious Desecration. Was it released digitally through Bandcamp at first, and the label then got in contact with you about releasing the demo?
– That is pretty much how it happened. It didn’t take long for the first “label” to contact me and propose to release the demo on tape. Of course it was fine with me, but there was just delays and more delays so I forgot the whole thing. It appears that it was just a hoax where nobody won anything. Haha! Later, Impious Desecration got in contact with me and soon the demo was released.
Do you view “Yeth Hound” as an EP or another demo?
– I planned, wrote, produced and released it as an EP. Of course the sound of this record is not what is expected for the sound of an EP nowadays, but that is just because I’m not good enough with mixing and mastering. Anyway, I don’t see that as a problem. Actually, I didn’t spend any time mixing the first demo, but with this one I at least tried so I want to believe that it’s a serious EP and a step forward.
Would you say Tyfon’s Dooms influences are mainly musical or do you get inspiration from other forms of art as well?
I can’t think any other form of art than just music that affects to my work. Well, lyrical themes comes from some unknown source that I don’t know even myself but the song titles are sometimes inspired by pictures or movies. It would probably be wise to read a book or two to get better ideas for the lyrics and everything though.
Is there one or a few main themes for the lyrics on the EP?
– There’s no main theme on this EP. Each song has their own theme and so far I haven’t been putting too much thought into lyrics, so they are probably not the most brilliant ones, but still they do the job.
Which bands and releases would you name as important for forging the sound that you show on your demo?
– On “Yeth Hound” the sound is pretty much like on the debut album of Metal Church or at least the poor man’s version of it, and that’s one way where Tyfon’s Doom is going to evolve if possible. That kind of sound gives me a chance to make an album with speed metal–like tracks as well as songs that are almost like hard rock. Also you can probably hear such bands as Iron Maiden and Heavy Load when you are listening to “Yeth Hound”.
I guess that self titled Metal Church album is a personal favourite then? It seems a strange question to ask for someone who adores it himself, but what do you enjoy so much about it? Are you a fan of the first two David Wayne-fronted albums only, or are you one of those looking forward to the upcoming comeback album with Mike Howe as well?
– Yeah, the first one is the best in my opinion, but the second one isn’t too far behind. It’s always a bit difficult to explain why some album are good, but in this case it’s pretty obvious. Listen to those riffs and melodies, not to mention the vocals by David Wayne! It’s fast, raw and powerful. Just too damn good. The albums with Mike Howe are really good also, but still completely in a different league.
My first impression is that “Yeth Hound” seems to be a little more metallic sounding overall, while there was a stronger hard rock influence on the first one.
-Well, I think you’re right. That is what happens when you add more gain to guitars. Haha! I’m still jumping from one genre to another when writing songs, but I can’t start a new project every time I write a different song. I’m just playing here somewhere in the hard rock-heavy-power-speed –axis and combining these genres to make music that sounds like it was made decades ago, but still sounds fresh.
You released “Yeth Hound” early January, have you already been approached by labels wanting to release it physically, or do you plan to do it on your own?
– Since my ambitions have changed from the last year, I didn’t want to wait for someone to contact me. This time I started looking for a suitable label by myself and I believe I’ve found it.
I guess this means that you won’t reveal the label yet? An EP sounds like something a label like Stormspell would do. Will the EP be released as it is, or are you looking for a budget to rerecord it?
– You guessed right. I just don’t want to say anything about the physical release until I can be sure. The EP will sound as it sounds right now, or maybe I might recheck some things about the mix, but I’m not going to rerecord it since I really like it as it is.
The song “Gate to New Reality” has already been mentioned by others than me as the stand out track on the demo. And indeed it’s a great, kind of epic track, also a lot longer than the other numbers on “Yeth Hound”. Please give us a little insight in how this track came to life.
– The idea for this song came from a relatively psychedelic picture, probably a painting that I saw in the internet a couple of years ago. I haven’t seen thepicture since then, but I can try to describe it somehow. There was a desert and a night sky, and also there was some huge and bizarre mushrooms growing on dunes. I’m not sure if there was a gate, but I think that there was. Anyway, this is how I got the title of the song. I had also wanted to try if I could make a long and epic track, so here was my chance since “Gate to New Reality” is a really great title for a song, but it isn’t really a title for a short and fast skullbreaker. You know, when there is a perfect album with no bad songs, the best one is almost every time the long and epic track if there is one. To get the final composition ready took a little longer. There were probably two or three different versions of the song, but I wasn’t satisfied with them so I used only some parts of those in the track. For example the guitar solo, which I think is the best of Tyfon’s Doom, was composed much earlier than the other parts. In “Gate to New Reality”, there are a lot of influences from other bands songs and the most obvious is probably Iron Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. Moreover, there is a huge influence by such songs as “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” on “Extraterrestrial Live” album by Blue Öyster Cult and “Free to Live” by Winterhawk. What is common with all these songs, is that all of them are long, epic and damn awesome tracks.
What do you see as the next logical step for Tyfon’s Doom? Do you feel ready for a full length release, and how soon would you be able to have the material ready?
– I’m not sure yet. I think I have to wait and see what “Yeth Hound” turns into and meanwhile I’ll try to write more songs. Right now I’m not ready for a full length release, but that’s because “Yeth Hound” has just began to search its audience. For my part, the production and the sound on an EP can be on the level as it is on “Yeth Hound” and in the future too, but on full length it should be at least a little bit better. Whatever the next release may be, the writing process will take time even though I have a bunch of older songs waiting to be recorded again.
What really excites me about this demo is the fact that you have a lot of great musical ideas that seems fresh and different from what pops up on each and every album nowadays. Is originality important to you, and do you try to think “outside the box” when composing and arranging material?
– That’s great to hear! When someone says that it still seems fresh when I’m clearly playing music that is strongly influenced by seventies and eighties heavy metal, I feel that I have succeeded. Playing traditional heavy metal in 2016 is pretty difficult if you want to write riffs and songs that no one has heard before. The most obvious tricks have been used too many times already, so I’m kind of forced to think outside the box, which is very advisable thing to do in many other issues also. In addition, taking influences only from the same genre you’re playing by yourself is kind of foolish because the outcome would probably be just a worse version of the records we’ve all heard before.
So would you say that there are influences from other genres than…on “Yeth Hound” as well?
– Of course there are subliminal influences from every genre of music that I like and listen to, but the ones I’m aware of, which maybe or maybe not, can be heard on the EP are mostly seventies rock bands like Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Birth Control, Rush etc.
Even though the songs are excellent, I have to admit I am not too fond of the sound of the demo. Again it sounds different, but I would have wanted it heavier with more bass and drums as well as a fatter guitar sound. Is it due to the demo nature of the recording, or is this the way you want Tyfon’s Doom to sound also in the future? If not, what kind of sound are you looking for?
– It’s neither that I wanted to produce an EP that sounds like a demo nor it isn’t something that I want Tyfon’s Doom to sound in the future. It’s just a process where I’m hopefully getting better with every release. It’s true that I want it to sound different than any other band, but at the same time it should have the elements you mentioned. It will either happen or not, but for Tyfon’s Doom, the songs will always be the priority and then comes the technical side.
You are looking to do the recording on your own too, not to get any help with it?
– That depends whether I’m going to think about releasing full length or another EP. So far I’ve done everything except the cover art by myself, but in the long run I could need help at least with the mixing process. Anyway, that’s still too far in the future to worry about it too much. Recording in a real studio would be cool, but that’s pretty fucking expensive, you know?
After the totally awful Sonata Arctica- and Stratovarius period, there seems to be a lot Finnish bands performing real metal coming through at the moment, with bands like Ranger, Riverge, Speedtrap, and new acts like yourselves, Angel Sword and Satan’s Fall. Just a coincidence you think, or a reaction on all the crappy symphonic “power” metal being huge some years ago?
– That’s really strange! I don’t think I can explain why there is suddenly so many new great bands emerging from Finland right now, and they’re all just starting. That is just awesome. Maybe we are all just had enough with the crap and started to play great music for a change. We can’t just play “Fire In the Brain” over and over again, can’t we? Actually we could but maybe more is more in this case.
Do you have a particular favourite among these “new” Finnish bands?
– Right now I’m really excited about Angel Sword! Very catchy riffs and melodies with awesome feeling. Hopefully I get to see them live this year. Also I have to mention Legionnaire at this point. They’ve released two demos, but only when you’ve heard those songs live you can hear how good they really are.
Speaking about playing live, is that something you look to do with Yeth Hound as well?
– That’s what people keep asking and I have nothing against it, if only I was an octopus. A couple of friends have signed themselves up for playing live, but that’s not going to happen any time soon, since it would need a huge amount of training because I really can’t play guitar and sing at the same time and sure as hell I will not drop my guitar to be just a singer.